Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro on Tuesday ordered the hospitalization of anyone who tests positive for the Chinese coronavirus, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms.
Addressing the nation on state television, the socialist tyrant ordered the measure supposedly to prevent the spread of the virus among families.
“This is an order I am giving, people must be hospitalized in 100 percent of the cases. 100 percent!” he declared.
Maduro explained Venezuela’s healthcare system has a capacity of 23,500 beds, meaning they should currently be able to undertake such a challenge, according to the socialist regime’s numbers.
“We have successfully contained the pandemic and in the current situation we can hospitalize all cases and isolate them,” he continued.
According to official data, Venezuela has so far recorded just 166 cases of the virus and seven deaths. These figures, if correct, are somewhat surprising given the catastrophic state of the country’s healthcare system and the vulnerability of its population.
Venezuelan is widely considered to be particularly vulnerable to the pandemic as a result of the devastating socialist economic crisis, which has left millions of people malnourished and without living essentials such as medicine and hygiene products.
Venezuelan hospitals have for years suffered chronic shortages of medical resources such as antibiotics and basic sanitary products required to overcome a major health epidemic. In 2017, the country’s leading national newspaper El Nacional called the situation in Venezuelan hospitals a “health Holocaust.”
The low number of cases across Venezuela may partly be a result of the nationwide quarantine imposed by Maduro last month, who described the measure as “an unavoidable and necessary measure” to stop its spread. “The real crisis is just starting. We are trying to get ahead of it,” he said at the time. “If we don’t get a hold of it and stop it, it could severely damage our community.”
It may also, however, be the product of Venezuela relying on poor quality health supplies and limited resources for testing.
There are now major concerns that the lockdown will further havoc on Venezuela’s shattered socialist economy, the driving factor behind the country’s humanitarian crisis. When Maduro first announced the measures last month, many people actively ignored him, instead opting to go to work to avoid losing out on their already pitiful salaries.
One of Maduro’s strategies for handling the crisis has been the importation of more Cuban doctors, many of whom are already based in Venezuela as slave laborers for their country’s communist regime. Their presence forms part of an agreement first drawn up between late dictators Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, where Cuba agreed to send medical specialists abroad in return for regular oil shipments.